Having trouble deciding on which entry-level GPU to pick up? Sparkle’s Calibre series might make your decision easier with it’s P850+. In addition to DX10 support and a unique LED-readout, it offers an additional 200MHz on the core and 320MHz on the memory over reference 8500GTs.
For Half-Life 2: Episode 1, I chose my favorite level, ep1_c17_02a. The level starts you off in a dimly lit hallway and you need to make it through to the roof where an airship is trying to gun you down. It’s a fun level, and really shows off HDR.
The game performed very well at 1280×1024, but bumping up to 1600×1200, I could feel the differences very quickly. 1920×1200 was “playable”, but not too enjoyable, I assure you.
In S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I chose a run-through with the thumb drive mission, which occurs near the beginning of the game. Through it, there are many people who die and you get to leave with a thumb drive. Does it get much better?
Stalker has the ability to put low-end graphic cards to their knees, as was evidenced here. 1280×1024 was playable, but not ideal. Anything higher is a joke… not happening.
SupCom is yet another game that I could probably play better blindfolded, but man, is it pretty to look at. Considering this is the game included with the card, it could not have been left out. The level used is Finn’s Revenge, which we have a saved game for. When loaded, it allows us about five minutes before the match ends, thanks to the huge army we’ve built up.
While STALKER is a game that requires higher FPS to enjoy, SupCom ran surprisingly well even at 1920×1200. The card managed 13FPS, which is hardly brag-worthy, but it WAS playable. I found either 1280×1024 or 1600×1200 to be the preferred setting though.